Facts about MDMA (also known as Ecstasy/Molly)
- MDMA is a powerful chemical called Ec3,4-methylenedioxy-methamphetamine. It is a synthetic (man-made) chemical created in a lab, which is a bit different from the more natural drugs such as marijuana or opiates. It is closely related chemically to both stimulant type drugs (such as cocaine, methamphetamine, etc…) and hallucinogenic drugs (such as peyote, LSD, and mushrooms).
- MDMA has the ability to alter your mood, create intense feelings of pleasure (also referred to as euphoria), “emotional warmth”, and make your feel very energetic. The drug also has potent mind altering effects that can change one’s perceptions of the environment and body, time, and senses.
- MDMA is usually found as a capsule or tablet, though some swallow it in liquid form, or snort the powder. The popular nickname Molly (slang for “molecular”) often refers to the purportedly “pure” crystalline powder form of MDMA, usually sold in capsules. There is a, potentially lethal, hidden danger here because people who purchase powder or capsules sold as Molly often actually get other drugs such as synthetic cathinones (“bath salts”) instead (NIH, 2016). This creates a grave danger because the user is not aware of what they are ingesting. Furthermore, as if MDMA is not risky enough in it’s own right, synthetic cathinones can be deadly and have very unpredictable effects.
The Effects of MDMA on the Brain & Body:
- MDMA affects three main neurotransmitters in the brain, they are called dopamine, norepinephrine, and serotonin. Neurotransmitters are chemicals in our brains that can be thought of as messengers. They are responsible for transmitting messages between the billions of tiny nerve cells in our brain.
- Dopamine—causes a surge in euphoria and increased energy/activity
- Norepinephrine—increases heart rate and blood pressure, which are particularly risky for people with heart and blood vessel problems
- Serotonin—affects mood, appetite, sleep, and other functions. It also triggers hormones that affect sexual arousal and trust. The release of large amounts of serotonin likely causes the emotional closeness, elevated mood, and empathy felt by those who use MDMA.
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NIDA. (2016). MDMA (Ecstasy/Molly). Retrieved from https://www.drugabuse.gov/publications/drugfacts/mdma-ecstasymolly